The GWSO prides itself on performing a wide variety of music from the past 300 years,
The 2017-18 season saw the orchestra perform Tchaikovsky's Symphony no. 5 in the fall, and then present a spring concert featuring folk-influenced orchestral music from six continents.
In May 2017, the orchestra presented Dvorak's thrilling "New World" Symphony, along with a performance of tangos by Astor Piazzaolla, with soloist Achilles Liarmakopoulos of the Grammy-winning Canadian Brass. In December of 2016, the orchestra performed Schubert's famous "Unfinished" Symphony, as well as Beethoven Piano Concerto no. 3, with Wheaton professor Guy Urban as soloist.
In April of 2016, the orchestra collaborated with the Smith College Orchestra on a performance of Gustav Holst's The Planets in Northampton, Massachusetts. The combined orchestra comprised over 100 instrumentalists, plus the 40-member Smith College Chorale. A month later, the ensemble performed a joint concert at Wheaton with violinist/composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, featuring his hip-hop-influenced "Rosa Parks Symphony."
In December 2015, the orchestra presented a concert that explored the themes of tragedy and resilience as considered through the current refugee crisis. At the beginning of the concert, three Wheaton students hailing from the Middle East spoke about their personal experiences with the crisis. Junior Kristina Danga - a winner of the previous year's Concerto-Aria Competition - performed the tragic "Canzonetta" from Tchaikovsky's violin concerto. That piece was followed by Entr'acte (2014) by Caroline Shaw, the youngest-ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Music, a piece whose sparse texture represented the social and psychological disintegration characteristic of the refugee experience. Finally, the orchestra performed Beethoven's iconic Symphony no. 5, which for over 200 years has represented the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Proceeds from the concert were donated to the United Nations' High Commission on Refugees.
Our Spring 2015 repertoire included Bizet's suites from the opera "L'Arlesienne", whose finale is the famous "Farandole." These pieces were performed along with world-premiere screenings of original films by Wheaton students. For this concert, we collaborated with students and staff from Providence's Community MusicWorks.
In May of 2014, the orchestra presented the overture and suite from Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream" , as well as the world premiere of Wheaton music major Montana Rogers' piece "Reminisced." well as In December of 2013, the orchestra performed a concert of music inspired by mythical creatures, which included music from the "Harry Potter" films, as well as the world premiere of Mary Louise Spang's piece "The Selfish Giant".
In April 2013,the GWCO collaborated with the Wheaton Chorale in a performance of Haydn's glorious "St. Theresa Mass", and opened the concert with a suite of music from Bizet's opera "Carmen." In December of 2012, the GWCO presented a concert of music inspired by Spain, featuring Bizet's "Carmen" Suite" and Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez", featuring the acclaimed classical guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan.
In May of 2012, the orchestra was joined by Boston Symphony Orchestra violinist Victor Romanul in a performance of Beethoven's Violin Concerto. The spring concert also featured the 10-member cello section in a performance of David Popper's Requiem. A month earlier, the orchestra presented "Black Ink: Music by African-American Composers", which featured esteemed composer Alvin Singleton and a concerto by Joseph Boulogne, an Afro-Caribbean composer who was a contemporary of Mozart. The orchestra's concert in November of 2011 was geared especially toward children, and included a performance of Saint-Saens' "Carnival of the Animals" as well as music by Beethoven, Handel, and a ragtime piece by James Reese Europe.
In May 2011, the orchestra performed Schubert's Symphony No 3, Vivaldi's double cello concerto in G minor, and Act 1 of Mozart's opera "The Marriage of Figaro". The featured soloists in this concert were all current Wheaton students. In March 2011, the orchestra collaborated with the internationally-known turntablist, digital music artist, and composer DJ Spooky in a unique multimedia concert that bridged the gaps between classical music, hip-hop, and techno. In May of 2011, the orchestra collaborated with student singer-songwriters Lillian Jones and Lizzie Camlin-Irving in a performance of original songs with orchestral accompaniment. In December 2010 the orchestra also presented an entire concert of music by Latin American composers that drew heavily upon the vibrant folk and pop traditions of Central and South America.